An apology goes a long way. Every event in history matters to at least one person but until the knowledge of it is spread no one will know what happened or what is true.
Welcome back to my blog, in this post I’m going to tell you about a new project I just finished and what I learned throughout. To start this post off lets look at the driving question, “How can we create a public memory of past wrongs so that they are remembered and not repeated today?” As you can probably deduct from the driving question, this project is about memorializing past wrongs to inform and educate everyone, and hopefully the memorials/public memories we create will help in stoping history from repeating it self, now lets see If my final project answered that.
That was a very broad description of the project so I’m going to go into a bit more detail. To start learning about past wrongs and things that need to be apologized for and memorialized we had to learn a bit about ethical judgment and how to understand each perspective at the time of a morally questionable event. Making sure every point of view and every angle is explored and made known is a good way to make sure people can understand and view the past in a way that makes you feel immersed in the story being shared.
After we learned about judging past ethical decisions we went into specific historical events that are known to be ethically wrong, specifically events in British Columbia. There are three events we learned about and got to know the best we possibly could, the three events were- Japanese internment during World War 2, Komagata Maru, and last but not least Chinese Oppression.
So, because of Covid-19 my class and I have not been able to go on any field trips off school ground for about a year and a bit, but because Covid started to calm down a bit for a while, we got to go on 6 field trips! This might not seem that exciting but I think it made everyone in the class really happy, it was great to learn through experiences rather than sitting at a desk for 2 hours. All the trips were going through places of significance to the events of oppression. Personally I have always learned better by doing things rather than reading about or getting lectured on them so I retained a lot more information during the field studies than I would have if we stayed in class.
The Places We Went
Punjabi Market/Komagata Maru Museum, China Town, and Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre. Each place we went was super interesting and we got to experienced the many different ways a story can me told. Being able to walk through, and see the places where the injustices happened was an incredible way to learn and put everything that occurred in a different and possibly more vivid perspective. We got to learn through real people stories in each trip and I think having a person who experienced the injustice narrate their own story or experience is a great way to help people understand that it was real people with very real emotions who experienced the atrocities being memorialized.
After the field studies and many days of discussion in class the teachers gave us groups to create our own memorial with, then handed each group 1 of the 3 topics of oppression to make a memorial for. My group had 4 people Jonathan, Liam, Jakub, and me of course, the topic our group received was Japanese internment during World War 2. As soon as we got into our groups we had to come up with an idea for a public memorial. We only had 4 classes to get it finished before we presented it at our exhibition. 4 classes to work is not a lot of time to come up with, create, and finally present a memorial design and prototype so we had to use our time wisely. The first day of class we brainstormed ideas for a memorial and came up with making a house. Out of context that might sound a bit strange but I promise it will make sense.
the house we created would be 2 levels (one level would be underground.) the top level represents an average white Canadian family during the 1940’s and the bottom level would show the awful conditions the Japanese Canadians had to live through while in the internment camps. The floor between the levels would be a glas—like material so you can see the life of the Japanese Canadians while standing in the calm life of white Canadians.
After we came up with our idea we had to think of a way to present it. My team and I agreed on most things we came up with and I am super happy about that cause the project could have ended very different if we didn’t get along. We decided to make a scale model of the house using cardboard and a little bit of lego. After we came up with that idea one of my team members (Liam) suggested we make an AR 3D model of the house to give a more realistic and aesthetically pleasing model of our memorial.
We each got certain tasks to finish so that we could use the short class time as well as possible. We all had to bring some stuff from home like cardboard and anything else we found and though would go with our model. Jakub brought some lego from home, I brought some art to go with the presentation, Jonathan started on the paragraphs telling the story of Japanese internment, and Liam worked on designing the AR model of our memorial.
the last day of class before the exhibition was really stressful because we still weren’t finished with our physical design, we went in during lunch the next 2 days and got it done. Because this project was so time sensitive I learned a lot about trying to manage time especially with a group. Managing your own time is one thing, trying to manage everyone’s time together is a whole different game.
The day of the exhibition we had a couple hours of making our station look nice with our models, plaques of information, and some art to go with the design. By the end of the exhibition I was happy with the result.
Thank you for reading through my experience of learning and presenting some of the history of oppression in BC. I hope you enjoyed my journey, if you learned something new please share with friends or family so they can learn a bit as well.